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Patrick McMahon

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True. Concertina boxes are usually well and truly battered anyway, whether they are solid or veneer.

 

But it's tiny pieces that I need, so it's well worth finding the best possible quality for a match.

 

The existing fretwork looks well and truly done by hand and eye, rather than mechanical exactness.

There's only a vague symmetry. Which adds to the charm, I think.

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I have a couple of rosewood concertina boxes, but I think the wood is too thick.

I'll keep my eyes peeled. It's not a huge panel that I need, so I might find something tasty at the car boot sale.

 

Try guitar makers. Offcuts from a guitar back could be large enough. If too thin you can add some veneer(s) on the back.

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Patrick,

As for the ends, no matter if it's veneer or solid woods. I would try to find a "similar" replacement wood for the missing parts.

With similar I mean

- of a similar age (so it may have the same wrinkles and dryness, it doesn't work anymore)

- wood type, grain, structure, pattern

- colour/tone of the wood.

Sometimes you can find these in an old guitar (beyond repair) or furniture.

Sometimes an old antique shop has old veneers...

Success,

Marien

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Thanks Marien,

yes, I'm sure that I'll turn something up.

I actually have a solid hardwood cigar-type box with a similar streaky grain, a bit lighter in colour, and in beautiful condition.

I was looking at it today, and feeling tempted to rob it of it's base. By the time it had been french polished it would darken to a good match.

 

There's actually enough streaky rosewood in it to make two new ends, if I felt so inclined. But it's too nice to break.

And anyway, the wood is about a third thicker, so it would need to be sanded down to use it.

 

But that just shows, there's plenty about, if you're not rushed.

 

Rosewood in old concertinas often comes with quite glaringly unmatched streaks in it.

A hundred years ago, they weren't so hung up on things being identical and symmetrical, as we are today.

I like it that way myself. Just as I like the way the ends look hand-cut by eye. It adds the human touch.

 

It's like the difference between a drummer and a drum machine.

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I found this video on youtube of an Irish girl playing an almost identical one.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4RnjuIT6pI

 

The gold tooling is identical, as are the bellows papers. The only difference seems to be the metal ends.

It's in unrestored condition, a bit less worn than mine.

The bellows are obviously original, being identical. They are on the thick side, like mine, so that seems to be how Jeffries made them.

 

I visited the Wakkers site, and they say that they too make the bellows thicker for an anglo, to give extra stiffness, which makes for quicker changes in bellows direction.

 

I find on these recordings that the fiddle tends to drown out the other instruments a bit, especially the higher notes.

Nice playing though.

They are from Kilmaley, where my mother comes from. Same parish.

And my mother was a cousin of Noel Hill. Kilmaley seems to be a concertina hot spot.

 

Edit :

Just found this one, being auctioned today. Same gold tooling, similar wear and tear.

 

http://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/hansons/catalogue-id-hanson10080/lot-95ff13ee-4a51-4ef1-b299-a62800913e0e

 

I suppose with metal ends, and metal buttons, the buttons had to be bushed, to avoid rapid wear and sticking.

Edited by Patrick McMahon

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I've just read this thread like a thriller, waiting to see what happens next - so Patrick, what did you end up doing? ;)

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I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't gone much further with it yet. I've had other projects fall in my lap which are more urgent.

I have got some nice streaky rosewood ( I think ), which is plenty for the missing fretwork. It came from a nice little trinket box that I bought at a boot sale, and it's a good match in grain, and should be a good match in colour too with the addition of french polish, as it matches the inside of the fretwork very well.

I've also got hold of a hand piercing-saw as recommended by Theo, and have taken delivery of plenty of blades for it off ebay.

I've also gone over the ends, and worked glue into a few micro cracks that were there, and they are now rock solid with no movement anywhere, and they should be good for another hundred years now. Especially once the missing bits of fretwork are replaced.

 

I haven't replaced the bellows yet. That's just a case of "can't make a decision". Or don't need to, as yet. I'm looking at the set that Mister O'Connor in Ireland made for my Jones and I can't really fault them, and they seem to be extremely close in form to the old bellows on the Jeffries. But the pound has taken such a hit against the Euro, I'm probably better off waiting till it bounces back a bit before I get a set from him, or Wakkers.

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I found this video on youtube of an Irish girl playing an almost identical one.



.

 

Aoibheann plays a Jeffries, as far as I remember:

 

DSC_0008_zpsuf4eng34.jpg

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Being something of a chicken in nature, I just bought this Lachenal to hone my fretworking skills on, before I take on the Jeffries.

 

If it comes out ok, it's not a bad buy in itself, but it should be great practice whatever.

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